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Platform(s): PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Publisher: Codemasters
Developer: Codemasters
Release Date: Aug. 30, 2011 (US), Sept. 2, 2011 (EU)

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'Bodycount' (ALL) Developer Interview

by Rainier on Aug. 1, 2011 @ 12:46 a.m. PDT

In Bodycount players become ensnared in a clandestine global power struggle as a powerful combat asset with a green-light to eliminate enemies known only as ‘Targets’ on behalf of the ‘Network’.

Designed by Creative Director Stuart Black (co-creator and designer of Black, 2006), Bodycount is being created by an all-star development team using the EGO Game Technology Platform, an evolution of Codemasters’ engine, and is set to rip apart the First Person Shooter and deliver genre-defining gun play that comes alive in an orgy of bullets and destruction.

Bodycount puts the fun back into the gun with a focus on delivering outrageous and stylish gunfights. Gamers battle class-based enemies who work together to chase the player down as they hunt the mysterious “Target,” a relentlessly evil enemy who manipulate world events under the cover of civil warzones. From the chaotic battlefields of Africa to the dangerous city streets of Asia and monolithic Target bases which the player must infiltrate, Bodycount’s gameplay comes alive as players shred their way through destructible cover and carve a unique wave of destruction through each level.

Interview with Andy Wilson, Bodycount’s Game Director and our first Sound Spotlight with James Slavin, Lead Audio Designer.

Q: How much destructible is the game world and are the enemies shreddable in any way?

A: The environment is destructible in all the key strategic ways, particularly cover. It’s less about watching set pieces in the distance that you can’t be part of, Instead you will see lots of shreddable objects dotted around in the environment. The idea of that is you drill through that stuff to get through to your opponents, and they can do that to you.

We allow you to shred through a lot through the walls. Anywhere you see AI hanging around, walls, behind walls, doorways, interior walls, windows, places like that. That’s where we put shreddable elements. So you can make new routes around the environments.

As for enemies, we give you special abilities to help you defeat them. One of those is an explosive strength bullet. The first level causes the enemies to die in one hit and throws them into a stunt death far into the distance. The second level is a shreddable bullet which makes them disappear almost instantly in a puff-cloud of blood. It’s is a bit grim, but weirdly amusing.

Q: What separates Bodycount from other FPS out there?

First are the guns! Everything is built around the gun experience, the feeling of squeezing the trigger and how powerful it is. What happens if that bullet hits something? And what happens even if it doesn’t hit something shreddable? We want a big fat chunky decal so it looks and feels like you’ve caused massive damage to the environment. So we’ve really focused on what if feels like to fire these weapons, and we’ve got a lot of experience in the studio to help with that.

Secondly the shreddable elements make a really big difference. We’re not doing it in a blow everything up, take everything down, and leave nothing left kind of way. We’ve done it in to give you cover in and around buildings that, as they’re destroyed, will force you to move about and change your tactics.

Finally the art style steers well away from something grey and brown, grim and gritty, and we’ve actually made something colourful and vibrant.

Q: What have you done to give players the most enjoyment out of Bodycount?

A: Dialing everything, like the guns, up! Obviously firing a gun in real life is pretty powerful and shocking, especially something like a machine gun. Chris, our weapons designer, has a lot of previous experience on other games as a weapons designer and he’s fired a lot of weapons. What he’s brought to Bodycount is that you can’t simulate a gun literally because you’re never going to capture the experience with a bit of plastic in your hands. So dialling everything up from the audio to the rumble, to the way it moves around on the screen, and then what actually happens when a bullet hits something. And even then you need to turn up the effects of bullet impacts far beyond what you consider to be realistic interpretation.

The other element we’ve got great fun from dialling up is the explosions. So when you double tap the grenade button in Bodycount it will explode on impact and send characters flying all over the place. We had a slider to where we could set the distances by how much they’re affected by the physics, and how far throw they’re fly, and we turned that right up as well. We did this because grenading a wall and seeing someone flying 30 feet throw the air with their arms and legs flailing is much more interesting than having them plop dead on the floor next to the grenade.

Q: Will there be any difference between the 360 and PS3 versions?

A: No, we’re going for complete parity between the two versions. You’re not going to get extra content on one over the other. We’re keeping it fair. We’ve focused on building one experience that’s great on two platforms.

Q: Can I detonate grenades mid-air with my gun?

A: Yes, if you’re very clever you can get them as someone’s throwing them at you. So you can actually use the fact that someone’s trying to throw a grenade as a weapon as itself. You can shoot them out of mid-air and the same can happen to you.

There’s also a BFG-style projectile weapon you get access to quite near the end of the game. It’s really powerful but because it’s a projectile weapon we let you shoot that out of the sky too. There’s lots of opportunity for that kind of game play.

Q: How do the guns feel?

A: They feel powerful, they feel violent, and they feel like a really useful tool for getting the job done! Going for something slightly hyper-real has given us a lot of freedom to manoeuvre within the boundaries of what we’ve created.

We’ve got real world weapons that behave in a fairly beasty way, but on top of that we’ve built our own weapons. We have a couple of weapons from the bad guy organisation ‘The Target’ where we’ve tried to use plausible real world tech to build them, but we’ve had a lot more room to manoeuvre . We’ve dialled them up and made them quite powerful. It gives you more inventive ways to kill people.

Q: Can we keep every weapon in the game, or do we have to choose which 2 to carry?

A: We give you weapons by visiting weapon caches which are actually in the environment. As soon as you’ve got access to a new weapon, which we deliver periodically through the game, you keep it. So every time you visit a weapons cache, the roster of guns you can choose from will increase.

We also have a separate mode, ‘Bodycount’ mode, where you can go in and revisit single player missions. You can go in, experiment with different weapons and different play styles. We grade you and give you a score at the end of a mission. We draw in friends’ leaderboards to make it competitive.

Q: What game modes does Bodycount support?

A: The single player campaign, a score based ‘Bodycount’ mode, and two competitive online modes; ‘Deathmatch’ and ‘Team Deathmatch’. We’ve also got a horde based 2-player coop mode where you fight off waves of AI. We’ve got lots of different class types like medics, scavengers, and psycho tank characters that have allowed us to construct the waves in different ways to change the pace and difficulty of the game.

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